The Dutch environmental advisory body MNP has warned the European parliament that EU plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the use of biofuels will increase food prices and threaten biodiversity.
The MNP examined the consequences of the European Commission directive, published in January, which seeks to set a 10% target for biofuels used in the transport sector and boost the use of renewable energy (using biomass, wind or solar power) to 20%.
‘Since existing techniques for biofuels are based on food crops such as grain, maize, sugar beet and palm oil, the EU biofuel target of 10% will lead to an increase in food prices,’ said the MNP report which was presented to the European parliament on Tuesday.
It stressed that food importing countries, like many in Africa, would be hardest hit.
The organisation also said that the production of biofuels in Europe requires more land and could threaten biodiversity.
Biofuels ‘are not always the best option from an ecological point of view’ the report concluded. It suggested instead that the EU to consider developing other technologies such as hydrogen-powered or electric cars.
The advantages of using biomass to generate electricity are far greater than the environmental
benefits envisaged in the EU’s proposal to cut greenhouse gases by using biofuels for transport, the report said.
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